Before heading southeast to begin the outdoor season in the sun, the fourth-ranked South Siders have a few items of business to address. This weekend, the Maroons take their second trip in as many years to the ITA Indoor Team Championships, hosted at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter’s, MN. The tournament invites eight of the top 15 NCAA D-III women’s tennis teams each year.
Chicago (4—0) enters the tournament confident that they can compete among the nation’s best. Assistant coach Tarakaa Bertrand is anxious to see how the team will handle the high level of competition. “The outcome will reflect how well our team plays under pressure. Our goals this weekend are to compete hard and play aggressively,” Bertrand said.
This past weekend provided a boost in morale when the Maroons thumped Kalamazoo 9—0.
“It was a good win, especially going into this weekend with some of the nation’s top contenders...I think I could say for everyone on the team that we are really pleased with the way we have started this season,” said third-year Kendra Higgins, who was named this week’s UAA Athlete of the Week. Higgins has won the award five times already this year, and 12 times in her career.
Last year the Maroons advanced all the way to the final before losing to Emory. They hope to improve on their first trip to the tournament this year.
“We have been extremely close, as in one set away (from winning) at times, the past two years in having the opportunity to be in the final championship match, losing to the eventual champions,” said Higgins.
The doubles team of Higgins and fourth-year, team captain Chrissy Hu (12—0) will be instrumental in Chicago’s run at the championship. “We are fortunate to have games that compliment each other”, Higgins said. “I always look forward to stepping onto the court with her.”
Chicago is seeded second going into the weekend’s competition. Friday morning, the team faces seventh-seeded Chapman (ranked 13th-nationally) in the first round of play.
Before heading to the Southeast for their spring trip, the Maroons have a dual meet against Ferris State March 9.
They will compete in Minnesota this weekend, March 4, 5, and 6.